As the nation waits for the first Olympics medal, Staff Writers, FREDERICK KEBADIRETSE and MOSAH MOKGANEDI profile the men and woman tasked with breaking the 32 year-old jinx
Amantle Montsho (Athlete)
Date of Birth: 04/07/1983 (29 years)
Event: Women 400 metres
Home Village: Mabudutsa
Personal best: 59.54 s (29/06/2012)
She is the country's most decorated athlete going into the Olympics. Montsho, who turned 29 last Wednesday, carries not only the country's medal hopes at the London Games, but the dream gold medal. She is the reigning world 400 metre-world and Commonwealth Games champion. Her career took a sharp twist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games where she won Botswana's first gold and has never looked back since winning the IAAF Diamond League and World Championship as well as defending her African title at the All Africa Games. It is without a doubt that Montsho is now at the peak of her career. She recorded her personal best time of 49.54 secs at the Africa Athletics Championships in Benin, something to look at going into the Olympic games.
Strengths: At 1.73 metres, she uses her long strides to pull away from the pack in the first 200 metres. While she may not be one of the best sprinters, she is able to hold her lead in the final 400 metres. Unlike in the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she froze under pressure, she has improved a lot mentally and has won races, even where she had a poor reaction time.
Weaknesses: Not very good in the final stretch, something that nearly cost her the world championship in Daegu last year, when American Allyson Felix closed the earlier gap towards the finish line. She has, however, improved with experience over the years and comfortably makes up for her weakness by opening an unassailable lead in the early stages of the race.
Gold at Africa Senior Championships, Benin 2012-07-05
2011 IAAF Diamond League winner (400m)
2011 All Africa Games Champion, Maputo, Mozambique
2011 400m-World Champion, Daegu, South Korea
2010 Commonwealth Games 400m champion, New Delhi, India
2010 Continental cup winner, Split, Croatia
2009 African Championships winner, Nairobi, Kenya
2008 Africa Championships winner, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
2007 All Africa games gold, Algiers, Algeria
2009, 2010 and 2011 BNSC Sportswoman and Sportsperson of the year
Oteng Oteng (boxer)
Date Of Birth: 9 January 1990 (22 years)
Home Village: Mahalapye
Sport: Boxing (52 kg flyweight)
At the tender age of 22, Oteng only comes second to Montsho in terms of achievements going into the Games.He has established himself as one of the finest boxing talents from the country and has produced well in recent years. It did not come as a surprise when he became the only boxer and only other athlete from a code different from athletics to represent the country at the Olympics. The All-Africa Games reigning champion
Strengths: Speed and agility play a key role in Oteng's success in the ring. His ring movement, excellent shoulder roll defence and timely punching are out of this world, making him one of the most feared opponents on the continent.
Weaknesses: He seems to lack enough strength; evidenced by low Technical Knockout (TKO) wins despite dominating his opponents for all the rounds in many instances.
Gold medal at 2012 Africa Olympic qualifiers in Casablanca, Morocco
2010 and 2011 Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) Boxer of the year
Gold at the 2011 Zone IV Boxing Championship, Gaborone
2011 Zone IV Championships Boxer of the tournament.
2011 All Africa Games gold medallist, Maputo, Mozambique
Pako Seribe (athlete)
Age: 19 years
Place of birth: Gaborone, Botswana
Sport: Athletics (400m)
Personal best time: 45:41secs
Seribe was the Africa Junior Champion in 2010 as he rose to stardom. He achieved a personal best of 21.66 secs in the 200m in Italy recently. His best time in the 400m is 45.41secs, while he ran this year's best with a time of 46.57 secs. Seribe is a former Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) award winner.
Achivements: Winning the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) junior male athlete of the year as well as qualifying for the Olympics
Strengths: He has a brilliant take off which he usually sustains until the finish.
Nigel Amos (athlete)
Age: 18 years
Home village: Marobela
Event: Athletics (800m)
Best time: 1:43:11secs
Amos is the youngest member of the team and the youngest ever to qualify for the Olympics in the country's history. He goes to the global competition with a lot of motivation after breaking the national record and becoming the second fastest man in the world in the 800m.
Strengths: A spirited fighter who does not give up easily.
Weaknesses: Being easily distracted.
Achievements: Breaking the national record at the Africa Senior Championships in Benin this month by becoming the second fastest man in the 800m. He first represented Botswana in the COSASSA games held in Gaborone, Botswana in 2010
Isaac Makwala (athlete)
Age: 26 years
Home village: Tutume village
Event: 400m (athletics)
Persona best: 45.25secs
Just like Amos, Makwala recently broke the national record at the Africa Senior Championships in Benin in a performance that saw him achieve the Olympics A Standard qualification.
Strengths: Persistent and works hard. Has the ability to maintain a consistent speed throughout the race. His speed has improved in recent times, which can be attributed to his exploits of late.
Weaknesses: Lack of endurance
Achievements: Breaking the national record and his personal best time in Africa championships in Benin. He first represented Botswana in the All Africa Games in 2007.